Written by Erren Harter
Infrastructure is a term we often hear and most of us don’t really know what it means. In the city’s language, infrastructure covers roads, bridges, sewers, and waterlines. These are all things that we would expect to last a long time for the community. At your home, infrastructure could be your roof, electrical circuits, water heater; all things necessary items in your home, to which you don’t give a lot of day to day thoughts. But, again, items you hope will last a long time.
Just like at your home, the city does regular preventive maintenance of our infrastructure, but sometimes, things age past their useful date. We have seen this a lot in the community. Our award-winning water treatment needed the ozone filter replaced, as the old one was over 20 years old. Our wastewater plant is requiring the biggest infrastructure investment in the history of Emporia. In 2017, we experienced major water line breaks that showed how old some of the infrastructure is around town.
The bad news about infrastructure is that replacing and repairing it is incredibly expensive. Think about when your home needs new siding or a roof. Fortunately, the city staff does a great job balancing what needs to be done each year, with what we can afford. The city has software programs that rate our weakest water lines, streets, and similar items, and those are replaced according to need. The city commission appreciates the amount of work that needs to be done and tries to balance that with keeping taxes stable.
On a positive note, I do want to talk a bit about some infrastructure coming to our community in 2018 that I think will be well received. The commission has committed to building new playground equipment in Jones Park, Las Casitas Park, Peter Pan Park, and to add a spray park at Peter Pan Park. We had planned these improvements over a 5 year period, but decided to do all at once to get better pricing and installation. These improvements will be similar to the new playground at Hammond Park.
Infrastructure can be a difficult term to define, but I hope you now understand that the city is working hard to repair, replace and invest in our infrastructure in Emporia. I’m Jon Geitz, and that is something to think about.